McGregor eager to christen Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium with Pacquiao fight

By Sports Desk January 17, 2020

Conor McGregor would be "honoured" to do battle with Manny Pacquiao in what he believes would be a blockbuster first fight at the Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium.

McGregor will make his UFC return against Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, 15 months after he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last bout.

The 31-year-old Irishman is also hungry to don the boxing gloves again and has called out Floyd Mayweather Jr, who he stopped in the 10th round of their fight in August 2017, for a rematch.

McGregor this week revealed talks with another legendary veteran, Pacquiao, are ongoing and would relish the chance to do battle with the 41-year-old in 60,000 capacity Nevada venue that is still being constructed. 

"It will be hard to leave the MMA game fully but I think a boxing world title is a great aspiration to have," said the mixed martial arts superstar.

"What a feather in the cap it would be. I always want bigger and better and to reach for the stars.

"I would love the rematch with Floyd Mayweather and I know the Manny one is there whenever I want it."

He added: "I would be honoured and love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena and what a fight that would be against a small and powerful southpaw.

"We would have to figure out the weight we do it at but it interests me, no doubt."

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  • Tyson Fury has 'the best story in boxing history' says thrilled ex-trainer Davison Tyson Fury has 'the best story in boxing history' says thrilled ex-trainer Davison

    Tyson Fury's sensational return to heavyweight champion glory is "the best story in boxing history", according to his former trainer Ben Davison.

    The 'Gypsy King' became a two-time heavyweight champion of the world with a devastating seventh-round TKO of Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas to prise away the American's WBC belt.

    It marks the culmination of a sensational climb back to the top for Fury, who has spoken openly about his battles with depression and cocaine use after dethroning Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA, WBO and IBF belts in November 2015.

    "It's the best story in boxing history," Davison told The Athletic. "I'm over the moon. 

    "It couldn't happen to a better man. I wanted to see him do it. Not being able to be there and not working, I get very anxious. Tyson made it a lot easier on me by fighting the way he did."

    Fury's decision to cease work with Davison, who had helped the Briton shed weight and return to elite boxing following the tumultuous times that followed his first title triumph, just two months prior to the fight caught many off guard.

    One of the most surprising aspects of the bout with Wilder – which took place 14 months on from a contentious Los Angeles draw in their first fight – was the aggressive approach taken by Fury, who delivered on his promise of a knockout having floored his opponent in the third and fifth rounds.

    Speaking afterwards, Fury praised the work done by Davison but felt he had proven a point with a different game plan executed under the tutelage of Javan 'SugarHill' Steward and Andy Lee.

    Davison himself felt Fury showed elements of all the trainers he has worked with throughout his career and that the unbeaten champion proved himself as one of the all-time greats.

    "From working with him, I obviously know Tyson's a versatile fighter," Davison added. 

    "But for him to be able to be that versatile really did surprise me. I didn't think it would end by stoppage, or be as emphatic as that. It shocked me in complete honesty, and I'm sure Tyson shocked himself.

    "A lot of people played their part in helping him get back to where he's got to. I've always said the credit always has to go to the fighter. Now, he will always be named as one of the all-time heavyweights.

    "What I saw was that he's worked with his uncle Hughie, then his uncle Peter, then with myself, and now 'SugarHill' and Andy. 

    "He's taken a little bit from everybody, with Andy and 'Sugar' putting together the final pieces of the puzzle for this fight. They've done a fantastic job.

    "That was the difference: That Tyson's collected that information, and had those experiences - seeing lots of different people and using all of what he's gained from everybody to put it into play tonight."

  • Wilder v Fury II: Chronicling the Gypsy King's sensational return to heavyweight glory Wilder v Fury II: Chronicling the Gypsy King's sensational return to heavyweight glory

    Tyson Fury delivered on a promise of fireworks in his defeat of Deontay Wilder as he completed one of the greatest turnarounds in the long and illustrious history of boxing.

    For the second time in his unbeaten career, Fury is the heavyweight champion of the world after earning a seventh-round stoppage over his long-time rival to win the WBC strap.

    It marks an incredible turnaround for Fury, who floored his opponent in the third and fifth rounds, given the turbulent times he endured following his first ascent to the top in November 2015.

    We chronicle Fury's journey between his first heavyweight title triumph and a glorious return to the summit in Las Vegas on Saturday.


    November 2015 – Fury shocks Klitschko and the world

    Fury was typically brash in the build-up to his heavyweight title showdown with Wladimir Klitschko over four years ago, but few were predicting the upset that was to come. The Briton brilliantly outpointed Klitschko – who along with brother Vitali had dominated the heavyweight scene for over a decade – in Dusseldorf to win the WBA, WBO and IBF belts. It was Klitschko's first defeat in 11 years.

    January 2016 – Wilder-Fury face-off in Brooklyn

    Fury, who had already been stripped of his IBF belt after agreeing to face Klitschko in a rematch instead of face mandatory challenger Vyacheslav Glazkov, was in attendance as WBC champ Wilder knocked out Artur Szpilka in Brooklyn. After the fight, Fury entered the ring and the two faced off in a heated exchange. Wilder would later say he wants to "really hurt" Fury.

    October 2016 – Fury vacates belts after troubled year

    It was a difficult 2016 for Fury, who faced accusations of homophobia and anti-Semitism following controversial remarks made earlier in the year. Fury twice pulled out of scheduled rematches with Klitschko – in June and September – and announced his retirement in October on Twitter before reversing that decision three hours later. UK Anti-Doping announced in August that Fury had been serving a provisional ban over the "presence of a prohibited substance" – he denied ever knowingly committing an anti-doping violation and would later receive a backdated two-year ban in December 2017. An emotional Fury then opened up on his battle against depression and use of cocaine, before voluntarily vacating his WBO and WBA straps.

    October 2017 – I'm coming back for you!

    Public appearances were limited for Fury in 2017, who had ballooned to 25 stone during his time out of the ring. But there were still plenty of vows to return and dethrone both Wilder and domestic rival Anthony Joshua. In October of that year, Fury released an Instagram post responding in typically charismatic fashion to Wilder's claim that he was "done". In a video that has resurfaced following his stunning Vegas victory, a smiling Fury said: "Big respect for giving me the motivation, for saying I can't do it and I'm finished, I'm coming back for you [Wilder], I'm going to fulfil that promise I made to you a few years ago. You know what I'm talking about. And I'm coming back for the big stiff man [Joshua], the man who struggled with a midget…"

    June 2018 – The 'Gypsy King' returns

    After almost three years out of the ring, Fury finally stepped back in the squared circle to score a facile victory over Sefer Seferi in Manchester. Two months later, after he had defeated Francesco Pianeta on points in Belfast, a date with Wilder was confirmed…

    December 2018 – Controversy reigns in Los Angeles

    Those who said Fury was past his best and had opted to fight Wilder too soon were made to eat their words as the long-time rivals finally squared off in a blockbuster Los Angeles bout. Wilder twice sent his opponent to the canvas – the second knockdown followed by a remarkable 12th-round recovery from Fury. Although he was spectacularly floored, most pundits agreed Fury controlled proceedings with a tricky and tactically astute showing and the announcement of a split-decision draw was contentious to say the least.

    October 2019 – Fury a 'Crown Jewel' for WWE

    Fury defeated Tom Schwarz in June 2019 and earned a unanimous decision victory over Otto Wallin despite sustaining a nasty cut to his right eye in the fight. In June, Fury announced a rematch with Wilder would take place in February 2020. That prospect was parked for the time being, though, as Fury swapped the boxing ring for the crazy world of WWE. After a couple of appearances on the company's flagship show Raw, Fury fought the "monster among men" Braun Strowman at the Crown Jewel pay per view in Saudi Arabia, where he won via count out.

    February 2020 – Fury reigns again with Vegas masterclass

    The decision to split with long-term trainer Ben Davison just two months prior to his long-awaited rematch with Wilder raised eyebrows and many concerns were expressed about the cut he sustained against Wallin. Talk of a second-round knockout also seemed like bluster, but Fury emphatically delivered on his promise to win in style. Fury was the aggressor from the off and put Wilder on the canvas in the third and fifth rounds, before the American's corner threw in the towel in the seventh to complete one of the greatest comebacks boxing, and indeed sport, has ever seen.

  • Emphatic win over Wilder justifies trainer switch, says Fury Emphatic win over Wilder justifies trainer switch, says Fury

    Tyson Fury believes he can still get better after his sensational triumph over Deontay Wilder and says the manner of the win shows he was right to change trainers.

    Fourteen months on from contesting a thrilling draw with Wilder in Los Angeles, Fury was an emphatic victor in Las Vegas on Saturday as he recorded a seventh-round TKO to claim the WBC heavyweight title.

    Prior to the rematch, many observers expressed surprise at Fury ending his partnership with Ben Davison, the trainer who played such a key role in helping him shed weight and return to the highest level after he had suffered from depression following his first heavyweight championship win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

    However, while Fury (30-0-1) praised Davison following his success against Wilder, the 31-year-old felt he had proven a point by executing an entirely different gameplan under the tuition of Javan 'SugarHill' Steward and Andy Lee.

    "When I made the decision to move from Ben Davison, who'd done a fantastic job by the way, I did it for a reason," said Fury in a post-fight news conference. "Everybody was like this is a bad move, really bad move, but it worked out for the best.

    "I believe in SugarHill, I believe in the style that he teaches and I knew we'd get it right on the night. Everything that I did in the ring, we practiced in the gym, setting up on the jab and landing the detonation right-hander.

    "We didn't mind revealing the gameplan, we had nothing to hide. I said what I was going to do, run across the ring to him, put him on the back foot and unload big shots on him. 

    "Everybody knows I'm a master slick boxer and I can jab and move for 12 rounds, but that didn't work last time, I got a draw. A draw is a failure to me, because all I do is win, win, win. This time I wanted the knockout and I think the only way I could guarantee that I was going to get a win was the knockout.

    "When me and SugarHill spoke, he told me that I would knock him out and I believed in what he said.

    "I'm my own worst critic, even though it was a fantastic performance and I got a great win, I know I can do better. I've only just started, me and SugarHill with this style, I've had seven weeks to perfect a style that takes years, but I'm a quick learner and I aim to get back to work straight away.

    "We're going to be putting people to sleep left, right and centre."

    The 6ft 9in Fury weighed in at 19st 7lb for Saturday's bout, 42lbs heavier than his considerably shorter opponent.

    "With this weight alone and technique we can knock out anybody," he added.

    "When I jumped on the scales at 270 pounds, everyone thought he's not come for a fight, he's underestimated Wilder, he's turned up for a payday. But tonight when I was in there I felt like a beast, this is my weight for sure."

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